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Ork Wartrakk

Of all the conversions I've done over the years, the single most requested tutorial has got to be for my Wartrakks, which were inspired by the Wartrakks in the Dawn of War video game.

They are fairly easy to make, but some of the parts I used are not made by Games Workshop. For those of you concerned with the 'tournament legality' of your conversions, I've provided some instructions to make these parts using soley GW components.

Parts List

To make ONE Wartrakk, you are going to need the following parts:
•     One Imperial Guard Tank Accessories Sprue available from the GW website
•     One Robogear Varan Model Kit (you may have to hit eBay for this one)
•     One handlebar from a Space Marine Bike (or kitbash your own)
•     One Ram Plate from an old Ork Wartrukk
•     One Door from a Space Marine Rhino (you KNOW you have one lying around!)
•     Enough bits to make an ONE Ork Boy (for the driver)


STEP 1: Basic Chassis

The first step is to make the basic chassis of the Wartrakk.

Take the parts from the Dozer Blade rig off the Tank Accessories Sprue and glue them together (minus the actual Dozer Blade of course). The small hydraulic pistons that you glued on should be on the top side.

Then take the rear housing for the searchlight and glue it between the hydraulic pistons.

The picture on the left shows what the chassis should look like when you're finished.

STEP 2: Tracks and Axles

The next step is to build the Track Assembly.

To make the axles, cut off two sections of sprue. If you're using the Tracks from the Varan kit, the rear axle will be about 2 inches long, the front axle will be roughly 1.75 inches long. Using a hobby knife, shave the ends of the front axle into a cylindrical shape that fits into the hole on the inside of the Varan Track. If you're not using the Varan tracks, the length and position of the axles will probably vary, more on that at the bottom of the page.

Dry fit the front and rear axles into the tracks. the front axle goes into the two circular holes near the top of each track. The rear axle slides into the rectangular impression on the inside of the track and acts as a spacer to keep the tracks parallel.

The final track assembly should look like the picture on the left.


STEP 3: Attaching the Tracks

Next slide the chassis inside the track assembly as shown in the picture on the left. The front axle should rest on top of the small hydraulic cylinders you glued to the top of the chassis in Step 1. The rear axle should rest under middle portion of the chassis, raising the back section of the chassis at an angle in relation to the ground. This angle is important as it adds to the 'speedy' look of the Wartrakk.

Make sure when assembling everything at this stage that you dry fit before adding any glue. Be sure that you're happy with the angle of the chassis in relation to the ground and the spacing between the tracks and the chassis. Once you're happy with how everything looks, go ahead and glue it together.

STEP 4: Front Bumper

Now it's time to add the front bumper. Even though Wartrakks can't get a Reinforced Ram in the new codex, adding one to the front of the trakk gives it a more menacing look. For this step I used the Ram off an old wartrukk kit (NOT the newer model). You can use either ram for this purpose, I personally prefer the 'three spike' model over the 'teeth' design.

As you can see in the pictures on the left, I trimmed down the ends of the ram, as well as the diagonal crossbeams, so the ram would fit between the tracks.

Slide the rear portion of the ram into the slot between the hydraulic rams and the chassis as shown in the picture. You should be able to slide the ram in and out to get the position you want. Once you're happy with how it looks, glue the ram in place.

If you don't have one of the older ram plates laying around, you can build one out of plasticard that should work just fine.

STEP 5: Fairing and Handlebars

Next up is the front fairing and handlebar assembly. For this we need a medium sized track guard off the Tank Accessories Sprue, a set of handlebars from a Space Marine Bike, and a short section of sprue. If you don't have any of these parts (or prefer not to use them), a reasonable substitute can be easily made with a peice of pasticard, some wire, and a trip through your bits box.

Using the pictures on the left as a guide, attach the handlbars to the track guard and use the peice of sprue as a brace. The brace is important because it gives the handlebars some support when attaching them to the track guard.

Once the handlebar/fairing assembly dries, glue it to the front of your wartrakk. If you're using the ram from the old ork wartrukk kit, the bottom of the fairing rests nicely on the little bolts on the top of the ram.

The important thing is to make surre that you're happy with the angle of the fairing before moving on to the next step. The handlebar assembly should be swept back and low enough to keep the 'speedy' look of the wartrakk, while being high enough to allow room for the weapons and the ork driver in the next few steps. If the bars are too low, the driver won't be able to reach them.

STEP 6: Driver's Platform

I used the side door from a Rhino kit to make the driver's platform. Any flat piece of plastic will do, but I like the idea of looting bits of Space Marine vehicles to make my orky contraptions.

STEP 7: Weaponry

There are a number of different weapon options for a Wartrakk, I chose to arm this one with rokkits. I used the rokkits from the Varan Kit (any rokkits will do) and attached them to the front axle on either side of the fairing using rare earth magnets.

If you haven't used rare earth magnets before, I highly recommend them. They're small, but very strong for their size. Magnetizing weapons allows you to remove them when they're destroyed or swap them out for other weapons.

STEP 8: Driver

The last step in building the Wartrakk is putting together the driver. Just use the bits from the Ork Boyz sprue to slap him together however you see fit. Despite the psychotic and careless nature of Orks, I always like the driver to have at least one hand on the controls. For this I use one of the arms that supports the front end of a shoota. Just chop off the hand and invert it so it holds onto the handlebars.

That's it! You've now built your very own Wartrakk. There are plenty of other embellishments to be made, such as detailing the underside of the vehicle, but I'll leave that to you.

Alternative Tracks

For all of you folks that don't have access to the Varan Kit, here's a method to make your own tracks using GW components. They all come from Imperial Guard Tanks. Games Workshop used to sell the Tank Wheels and Tank Track sprues as bits orders, but they've stopped that practice for the time being. So you're going to either have to make friends with an Imperial Guard player (they always have extra odds and ends), or loot an Imperial Tank yourself (in true 'Orky' fashion).

To make ONE track assembly (remember, you need TWO assemblies for each Wartrakk), you are going to need the following parts:

•     At least THREE of the
      small tank wheels
      (preferably FIVE)
•     SIX of the 'single link'
        track pieces
•     TWO of the 'four link'
        track pieces
•     ONE 'double link'
        track piece
•     ONE 'eight link'
        track piece

Once you have all your peices gathered, lay them out in a rough triangle like you see in the image on the left. Two wheels should be on ground level with the 'eight link' track running between them. The third wheel should be at the top of the triangle and toward the front of the track rather than directly in the middle.

Take the 'double link' piece and glue it to one of the 'four link' pieces to make a 'six link'. Use the 'six link' to run from the middle wheel to the rear wheel, and the remaining 'four link' piece to run to the front wheel. Have a look at the picture to see how this goes together.

Once you've got all the long pieces dry fit together, you can play with the positioning a little bit to see how the 'single link' pieces fit in. You'll need one for the top wheel, two for the front wheel, and three for the rear wheel. Once again, the pictures on the left show how it goes together.

Once you have the basic triangular shape glued together, you can glue a couple more wheels in place along the bottom. It just looks better that way. Please note that when using this track design (as opposed to the tracks from the Varan kit) the position where the axles attach to the chassis in step 3 will change. It'll be up to you to figure out just how it goes together, I'm just showing you how to make a triangular track out of all GW pieces.